Breeds of Sheep Reared in Kenya

Breeds of Sheep Reared in Kenya

Kenya is known for its diverse agriculture, and one of the most common types of livestock reared in the country is sheep.

Farmers in Kenya keep sheep for different purposes, including meat production, wool production, and milk production.

However, different breeds of sheep have varying characteristics that make them suitable for certain purposes.

In this article, we will explore some of the common breeds of sheep reared in Kenya.

Sheep Breeds in Kenya

A breed is a group of domestic animals with a uniform appearance, behavior, and other characteristics that differentiate it from other animals of the same species.

There are many different sheep breeds that can be reared in Kenya some of the breeds are popular and some are less popular. However, different breeds have different purposes and different characteristics, therefore it is important to choose a suitable one that is adaptable to the location you want it raised.

The most common and popular sheep breeds reared in Kenya are Red Maasai, Romney Marsh Sheep, Merino sheep, Corriedale, Persian Blackhead, and Dorper Sheep. But Dorper and Red Maasai are the best breeds that most farmers in Kenya recommend because they grow faster, are characterized by hardiness, and have good meat quality.

Here is a summary of breeds of sheep reared in Kenya

BreedCharacteristicsPurposeBenefitsPrice( depending on the age, weight, and sex of the animal)
DoperHardy, adaptable, medium-sized sheepMeat and woolGood meat yield, moderate wool productionKsh 8,000 to Ksh 20,000
Red MaasaiResilient, disease-resistantMeatExcellent adaptation to local conditions, meat qualityKsh 5,000 to Ksh 15,000
Blackhead PersianDual-purpose, strong, and robustMeat and woolGood meat and wool production, durabilityKsh 8,000 to Ksh 25,000
MerinoFine wool, high-quality fleeceWoolPremium quality wool, fine fleeceKsh. 5,000 and Ksh. 25,000
HampshireLarge, fast-growing, good meat yieldMeatHigh meat production, good feed conversionKsh 8,000 to Ksh 20,000
SuffolkMuscular, meat-orientedMeatExcellent meat yield, fast growthKsh 8,000 to Ksh 20,000
RomneyDual-purpose, medium-sizedMeat and woolGood wool and meat production, adaptabilityKsh 10,000 to Ksh 30,000
Dorset HornMedium-sized, easy lambingMeatEasy lambing, good meat qualityKsh 8,000 to Ksh 20,000
LincolnLarge, heavy fleece, long woolWoolAbundant wool production, long-stapleKsh 10,000 to Ksh 30,000
CheviotMedium-sized, hardy, white-facedMeatHardy and adaptable, good meat yieldKsh 10,000 to Ksh 30,000

1. Dorper Sheep

The Dorper sheep is one of the most common breeds of sheep reared in Kenya. It was originally bred in South Africa and later introduced to Kenya.

The breed is known for its adaptability to different climatic conditions, making it suitable for different regions in the country.

Dorper sheep are medium to large-sized, with a white body and a black head. They are meat sheep, and their meat is of high quality, making them popular among farmers.

2. Merino Sheep

Merino sheep are originally from Spain, but they are now found in many parts of the world, including Kenya.

This breed is known for its fine wool, which is used to make high-quality clothing.

Merino sheep are small to medium-sized and have a white body.

They are mainly reared for their wool, but they also produce good quality meat.

3. Red Maasai Sheep

The Red Maasai sheep is a breed that is native to Kenya, particularly the Maasai community. The breed is known for its resistance to diseases and parasites, making it suitable for areas with high disease prevalence.

Red Maasai sheep are small to medium-sized and have a red and white coat. They are mainly reared for meat, but their wool is also used to make blankets and rugs.

4. Blackhead Persian Sheep

The Blackhead Persian sheep is another breed that is common in Kenya. It is originally from Iran and was introduced to Kenya in the 1930s. The breed is known for its high-quality meat and adaptability to different climatic conditions.

Blackhead Persian sheep are medium to large-sized and have a black head and white body. They are mainly reared for meat, but their wool is also of good quality.

5. Suffolk Sheep

The Suffolk sheep is a breed that originated in England and was introduced to Kenya in the 1950s. The breed is known for its high-quality meat and fast growth rate.

Suffolk sheep are medium to large-sized and have a black head and legs with a white body. They are mainly reared for meat, but their wool is also of good quality.

6. Hampshire sheep

Hampshire Sheep in Kenya

Hampshire sheep are also a popular breed of sheep that is known for their hardiness and productivity.

They are well-suited to the Kenyan climate and are a great option for farmers who are looking to raise sheep for meat, wool, or both

In conclusion, there are different breeds of sheep reared in Kenya, each with its unique characteristics that make it suitable for specific purposes. Farmers in Kenya should consider the breed that best suits their needs and the prevailing climatic conditions in their area.